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The Apidura City Backpack is a lightweight and fully waterproof backpack designed for urban riding and daily commuting – and in its simplicity, it is a great backpack with ideal storage space.
Our best cycling backpacks buyer's guide rounds up the top choices out there.
The City's simplicity is one of its most appealing features. The bag features a welded waterproof construction to keep your belongings dry in any weather and its features are minimalist, with only the essential pockets.
Inside, there's a suspended laptop sleeve for secure storage and the sleeve has one zipped pocket for storing pens or other small items you don't want to fish from the bottom of the bag.
On the side, there's an easy-access zipped pocket for keys and the like.
Otherwise, the bag is basically one single rectangular pouch with flap closure that's 50cm in height, which can be extended to 56cm, and 30cm wide. This minimalist approach makes it rather pleasing to the eye, and the materials used are good quality.
The shoulder straps are quite thin but have a lot of flex and just enough padding. Connecting the shoulder straps is an adjustable sternum and waist strap for a comfortable fit while riding.
That said, I took the waist strap off rather quickly and subsequently never missed it. I barely ever feel like I'd like to wear a backpack with a waist strap when cycling (perhaps because I ride mostly drop-bar bikes and hence am in a lower position) and the one that comes with this bag is rather thin, making it dig into the abdominals.
The padding on the back is dense and has quite a low profile. Apidura says it's 'quick-drying padding for comfort without bulk', and it's right with this claim, but I'd add that the padding is definitely not as breathable as for example the mesh-style backs on certain Osprey bags. After a 45-minute commute on a 25°C day, my back was thoroughly soaked and although the bag might've dried pretty quickly, my T-shirt definitely didn't.
And talking of commuting, the 20-litre capacity of this bag proved to be more than enough for carrying office essentials and even some extra for a weekend-long trip.
The padded laptop sleeve fits laptops up to 17in in size and keeps them from rattling about even if you have nothing else inside. It's also nice that the padding is not too extensive, so if you don't store a laptop in the bag the sleeve takes up little space.
The capacity around the laptop sleeve is flexible because of the flap closure system, which I much prefer to roll-top closures, which I find cumbersome – and I also think the City Backpack's aesthetics are better than a roll-top, but that's subjective.
The flap attaches to a buckled, adjustable-length strap, so you can pack the bag pretty much full to the brim, and still the flap wraps over the belongings to protect them from rain. I did have a few instances where the buckle came undone unintentionally when the bag was empty, but because of the 'bucket' style design, nothing falls out even if this happens.
And talking of rain, as many of us this summer, I've been caught more than once in proper downpours when using this bag – and it kept its contents completely dry every time.
The waterproof material feels durable and is easy to clean, although it is a little 'stiff' and the outside of the bag shows little scuffs, it's very nice and keeps the bag light. The reflective detailing at the bottom of the bag is well placed so that it shows even if you ride in an aggressive position, and there are loops for attaching a rear light for extra visibility.
There aren't many cycling backpacks like the Apidura City Backpack in the market, as most of them feature a roll-top or zippered closure.
The closest rivals include the £89.99 Oxford Aqua Evo 22L Backpack, which Steve was extremely impressed with and the £94.99 Craft Cadence Backpack that Nick-Ball thought was both stylish and comfortable. Both scored extremely highly in our testing, are waterproof and quite a lot cheaper.
If you are happy with a rolltop design, the Ortlieb Commuter Daypack City backpack comes in at much the same price as the Apidura. It's light, tough and well organised and Patrick thought it was pretty much perfect.
Overall, I think this bag makes a comfortable, practical and stylish choice for urban cyclists and commuters, but it isn't the best if you regularly commute in hot weather and absolutely hate a sweaty back. It's very simple in design, which made me reach out for it even for non-cycling trips, and because of the waterproofness I never had to worry about my stuff getting wet. But as nice as the City Backpack is, I do feel its £130 price tag is somewhat hard to justify.
Comfortable, practical and simply stylish choice for commuters, but with a high price tag
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Apidura City Backpack
Size tested: 20 L
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
A lightweight and fully waterproof backpack made for urban riding.
Apidura says: "Lightweight, precision crafted backpack for urban cyclists, inspired by bikepacking and designed for city life.
The best cycling backpack is one that keeps your laptop and work essentials dry and looks just as at home on the commute as in the office and when you're out with friends. The City Backpack takes everything we've learned about keeping cyclists' kit dry and safe in the planet's most challenging environments and applies our Precision Crafted, Adventure Proven expertise to the urban environment.
This waterproof cycling backpack features a protected device sleeve alongside internal organisation, a key leash and a quick-access external zippered pocket to carry everything you need for the day in comfort. Subtle reflective details ensure you are always visible on the bike without drawing attention to the fact you arrived by bike."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
CT420 Marle for an understated design that transitions seamlessly through the city
Hypalon reinforced straps and attachment points for enhanced durability
Fully waterproof, easy to use zip pocket
Low profile, quick drying padding for comfort without bulk
The City Backpack can be wiped clean as needed. For more thorough cleaning, wash the City Backpack by hand, using a mild diluted soap if necessary. Afterwards, let it air dry. Do not machine wash, machine dry, or iron.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performed well on commutes and when wearing on the bike.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I like the simple design, nothing unnecessary has been put to the bag, it's just simple to use, looks good, is practical and comfortable to wear on the bike.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There aren't many cycling backpacks like the Apidura City Backpack in the market, as most of them feature a roll-top or zippered closure. The closest rivals are likely Oxford Aqua Evo 22L Backpack (£89.99), and Craft Cadence Backpack (£94.99), both of which scored well in our testing, are waterproof and also, quite a lot cheaper. Because as nice as the City Backpack is, the £130 price tag is somewhat hard to justify.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe – though the price is quite off-putting
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Overall, I think this bag makes a comfortable, practical and stylish choice for urban cyclists and commuters, but it isn't the best if you regularly commute in hot weather and absolutely hate a sweaty back. It's very simple in design which made me reach out for it even for non-cycling trips, and because of the waterproofness I never had to worry about my stuff getting wet. The price tag is high, though, which is pretty much the only negative I could pick about this bag.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized Tarmac Sl6 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb, Ultra-distances
Suvi joined F-At in 2022, first writing for off-road.cc. She's since joined the tech hub, and contributes to all of the sites covering tech news, features, reviews and women's cycling content. Lover of long-distance cycling, Suvi is easily convinced to join any rides and events that cover over 100km, and ideally, plenty of cake and coffee stops.